Any tips on writing a non-binary character?

So far I have been working on my game and I am now working on the character introductions. The other characters were relatively easy but I am rather concerned regarding the Non-binary character. I’ll call them “Eris” for now.

I have read up on tips when it comes to writing these characters before but I still struggle to find a balance between making a glorified cis-gender character and being pretentious and inconsiderate author who’s just doing “non-binary this” for brownie points.

So far, I am planning on adding certain interactions exclusive to a non-binary player. One is in which Eris will note that they haven’t met another non-binary in real life until the player came in.

Other tips I found mainly regarded questions like “which bathroom do they go to when there’s only two” and all that but I am a bit sceptic about it because it may bring back some unpleasant memories or feel forced for some players.

Another event I wanted to add is in which a non-binary player can mis-gender Eris but they kind of get over it because the player can say “I know how that feels.” But again, I feel like that it may come off as forced.

One more concern about Eris I have is their very concept. A lot of the characters in my story were inspired by X-Men characters. I have a character who was inspired by Nightcrawler and another character was inspired by Kitty Pryde and all that. This is because my story is a superhero story with themes of discrimination (which is also why I made is a priority to add a Non-binary character)

Eris was inspired by Beast. And just like Beast, they have super strength but have hairy and simian appearance (but not form. Eris still stands up and sits down like a regular human). Because they were in this form their entire life, they have essentially accepted it even if some people degrade them for it.

My main concern with the concept is that it may give bad implications by implying that Non-binary people are less human/hideous. I tried to solve this problem with some events with a Non-binary player, and Eris saying that they connected with other Non-binary people online… but my concern still stands.

Any feedback as well as tips will be appreciated.

There have been some other threads that have touched on topics related to nonbinary characters.

They might offer some useful insight. I hope you find them helpful! Have a good one! :slight_smile:


In writing “E”, a fluid non-binary character in one of my projects, I’ve been writing them just “naturally”.

E is happy with who they are and just rolls with the day-to-day as it happens.

One day, E is involved in a horse race against a teamster employee of their uncle. That particular day, E was wearing riding trousers and a top; the teamster really did not care what E considered themselves to be. Instead, he was upset that E would bring a toddler to the race and try to get him to accept the toddler as part of the racing team he was racing against.

E also got upset, but what they were upset about was that the teamster was welshing on the race and not “putting up what his mouth got him into.”

During the argument, gender and gender roles are brought up, but the focus of the argument remains the toddler and the unwillingness of the teamster to accept the toddler as a racer on the other side.

The argument dies down, the two go their separate ways.

If the MC supports E’s position with the toddler, then the MC walks off the scene with E, setting up the next scene.

In the next scene, the MC will be able to interact with E and discover a little bit more about them. The MC will learn in a discussion with E’s father over a job position, that E’s father is accepting of E, but still at times slips in misgendering E, their child.

Once again, the focus of this discussion is not gender, nor acceptance but the job being offered and whether the MC is offered it or not (and why or why not).

… the game goes on

In the future, while carrying out their job, the MC will encounter E more and more. As their potential relationship grows, they will be finding out more and more about E… who they are and are not. As time goes on, if E and the MC become better friends, then there will be the chance to pursue deeper conversations with E.

If the MC stays distant and never strikes a friendship up with E, then the MC will only see E sparingly and in glimpses… things may be seen or noted here and there about who E is, but the focus will never be on E.

This is how things are progressing so far.

I wrote all this out to try to show how I’m approaching trying to write E as a deep and complex character, more than just a cut-out representative.

As far as your Eris’ Beast inspiration, I will let others, more qualified than I am speak to that.


This bit sounds kind of iffy to me. That the player can misgender Eris if they’re NB doesn’t seem very…fair, to put it plainly. My thoughts are, shouldn’t the nonbinary MC be more able to relate to the frustration of being misgendered and therefore be able to use the correct pronouns/terms for Eris?

Would there still be specific scenes regarding Eris being NB even if the player isn’t nonbinary?

Also, a bit of background on the story setting would also help. You mentioned the bathroom issue, so I’m just working off the assumption that this takes place in a relatively modern universe :sweat_smile: How does discrimination work in your universe? How are queer people perceived, and does any of that significantly affect the characters, especially the main character? And since you said that Eris was inspired by Beast, are there other characters that have similar “othering” powers?


I felt like that scene had some problem with it, which is why I was holding off from adding it into the game. Thanks for the feedback, it is rather useful. Expect this idea to be reworked.

There will be but as of now, I haven’t planned any. My focus was on an NB player.

Yeah I should’ve given a background to the setting. However, yes, it will be set in a Modern Setting.

You were quite spot-on on the “othering” powers. In my story’s universe, there is a “power hierarchy” in the superhuman community and the player is a person who is part of the very bottom and so will the other characters they’ll interact with. These people at the bottom are those with what the society perceives as “weak” or “bad” powers.

Eris (as well as the other character) is meant to show how counter-productive the system’s hierarchy is, since technically, their power of super strength is objectively good, but they are ultimately put down because of their appearance.

The perception of LGBT characters in this society is something I haven’t dealt with yet. Although some light mentions of it are expected, I felt like tossing it in might feel out of place in the story’s narrative or make the story introduce too much topics.

I read up on your story, and I found it to be very good and enlightening. I am planning out character side-missions that the player could take in order to know and/or romance the other characters and the story you gave has taught me some interesting concepts that should improve Eris’ side mission. Thanks!

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I asked a similar question a while ago (I think I was perhaps more interested in writing the MC, while your focus is on another character, but it shouldn’t make that much of a difference :thinking:) and got a ton of great feedback. Perhaps you might find that thread useful?


I’ll give that thread a read. Thanks for the reference!

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i hadn’t replied to this thread yet despite really wanting to because something in the post felt off, and i finally figured out what. this:

combined with this:

i’m going to ask a frank question: is the character non-binary because that’s how you conceived them to be or are they that gender because you felt you needed to add a non-binary NPC to round out a discrimination narrative? 'cause (to me) the latter borders on pandering and I’m not really sure how helpful tips on writing non-b characters would be–if an element of a character’s identity exists mainly to serve the plot or theme, it’s just going to be harder for real people that share that identity to be ok with their portrayal, no matter how well-written they might be. (imo.) imma try to be more constructive tho

I got a little confused by the wording of this. is it that people were asking that question when asking for non-b character tips or were people giving the tip to add that question in the story? either way, your gut is right here: this is a bad idea. potentially triggering people when it adds essentially nothing to plot or character is usually not worth it. i also cannot imagine talking to a fellow nb person about their bathroom choices as a casual topic. for me and many others, the choice is obviously ‘whatever one holds the least chance of harassment’ which basically just means choosing the bathroom that matches others’ perceptions of us. why would i ask another nb person about this? kinda feels like a ‘how do you do, fellow kids’ moment

i agree with @EclecticEccentric’s first point, although i wouldn’t use the word unfair because it can and does happen. binary pronouns are hard to unlearn, even when you realize they don’t apply to yourself either. but it’s unnecessary and i do think replacing such an exchange with something the two non-b characters could actually bond and relate over would be more worthwhile.

yeah, if you are struggling with the aspects of writing a queer character in the way you described, you should probably meditate a bit more on this. even if it isn’t a big part of the story itself, thematically or narratively, if you’re planning for a non-binary character, especially one who is already “othered” in some other way, you should know how your universe perceives them like the back of your hand. ok, maybe not that in-depth if it doesn’t play a huge role to the story, but if you’re going to incorporate it into scenes between the MC and the NPC, you should have a firm grasp of what kind of discriminatory context they may or may not be living in. i think understanding that will help in making their interactions on the subject of gender seem authentic for the world you’re building, and that can honestly be more important than such a thing being true to real life

hope this wasn’t overly harsh, i wish you the best of luck in your writing process :v:t4:


I have a question that I expect not being too harsh or conflictive. The thing is I am writing a story with Humanity as a group being the antagonists and the bad guys.

So I am very concerned about the fact to include other races and LGBTQ people. I mean I can safely portrait White cis people as bad and cruel. But Can I do the same with rest groups?

So I ended up with an entire society you see made out white cis people. It is not realistic at all. But I fear the backlash

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There shouldn’t be a backlash. “Bad” and “cruel” are not qualities that white cis people have a monopoly on. People of all descriptions can be both of those things!


I know, I know. But the fact you are an Android treated as a slave for the cruel remains of humanity is the main theme. You have to discover what you really are and if you are merciful enough to save humanity that slaved you.

I have fear if one of the guards is other race or other minorities, people considers that I am insulting those minorities.

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oooof. careful with this logic. i definitely understand the point you are making, but especially if you are creating these antagonists with real-life historical context, what is most important is that you show and do not tell that they are bad and cruel. assuming that you can safely portray any demographic as anything is a mistake. it is an assumption that the reader will see certain characters’ identities and jump to the conclusion you want them to reach, and that just won’t happen all or even most of the time, especially if the reader shares that identity.

Humanity being the antagonist is excellent because, well, we are the source of all evil lol. but humanity is a broad group, there are obviously bad and cruel people of all races doing essentially identical things to different marginalized group (lgbtq+ discrimination exists everywhere; different kinds of anti-blackness existed in some areas of the world before they made contact with colonial slavers).

so please do make the antagonists diverse. you must. otherwise I think you might be making an entirely different statement about enslavement and needlessly providing cover for some very evil things that groups other than “white cis people” are certainly guilty of

and this, i believe, is silly. (and i say that with love lol) evil knows no color and neither does discrimination. if the player is already not-human, then you shouldn’t worry about over-representing humanity as any one race or whatever. this is actually one of the few things Detroit: Become Human does very well–that android discrimination is very universal

*edit: actually, here's some musings on what I'm doing with a somewhat similar theme/topic in my own demo

my WIP takes place in a fictional wealthy town in the US and is largely about the different ways greed affects society. in any real-life setting reminiscent of the fictional town i’ve created, the vast majority of the population would be white: so I’ve replicated that by making most of the secondary and minor characters white. however, the majority of the main cast are people of color and three of them are children of immigrants. all characters in my story show different degrees of greed and cruelty, with only like a handful of exceptions (the MC not being one for this first book). And for each character, it has nothing to do with identity and all to do with their relationship to power.

some characters are used to having power and will do anything to maintain it. some will do anything to expand it. some are used to having none and are desperate to have control over their own lives. some are used to having none and want to gain it to spite fate. some are trying to prove themselves. some are just doing what they’ve been taught. some are trying to overturn the system. some find it all to be a compelling game, one that they seek to win. plenty are a mix of some of these motives. i’m sure there’s other motives i’m not listing off here

anyyybody of any race, gender, or sexuality can fall into one or more of those motivation groups. doing this doesn’t limit the demographics of my antagonists, despite the setting being majority cis and white, and it gives me a lot of freedom to create interesting villains and anti-heroes, regardless of their personal identity.

which isn’t to say things like race and sexuality don’t play a role in things, 'cause they do! this is just a far more interesting story to tell for me and i couldn’t bring myself to write it any other way.


I mean for me is easy portrait as evil white and cis because I am white and Cis. And my country ancestors were a big part of the slavery trade.

I don’t want to make people think that this is against any race or any group. So It is easier not to specify or not put in a bad place a group I am not part of.

Edit: But I will try to be more diverse even if I still have fear of include an LGBTQ character being bad or hostile.


Good question. I have faced with it myself. This was because Eris was originally planned to be a girl in the story’s super-super early stages. I guess my answer would be: yes, Eris was created to round-out the discrimination narrative, because I felt like a diverse cast is to be expected and that an all-white male cis-gender cast would come off as hypocritical

In order to help me out, I set up this question: “If I copy-paste Eris’s character and side story onto a cis-gender character, would it be the same or would it be weird?” and vice versa. And this has been a guideline for developing Eris, with me putting up this post in order to help me better understand how to write them.

That is also something I wanted to avoid. This is why while I was writing Eris I made it important that them being non-binary wasn’t their entire character nor the sole reason why they are being “othered.” Their physical appearance is the main reason why they are discriminated and them being Non-binary can serve as another reason for someone to do so.

I have been thinking this whole part though as of late. Although I haven’t reached a definitive answer to “How does the story’s society perceive LGBT people?” Taking into consideration the story’s late 2000s to early 2010s as well as its history have made things easier.

Overall, thank you very much for your input and it has helped me reflect on my progress on Eris so far. Also, don’t worry I don’t think your reply wasn’t harsh in any way.


I don’t think this is going to be a problem if you’re going to portray all of humanity as bad. Humanity is diverse, and includes those minorities! The problem lies when it starts showing “minority=evil” or “being a minority causes you to do evil.”


Ah, no, in this case, is a dystopian society after 3th WW and all are bad with Androids and is a very toxic environment.

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so in an attempt to bring this back to the original topic (:sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: sorry mods, this was prob my fault here)

i would say don’t be too afraid of this. especially since sexuality and gender aren’t related to the main conflict of sentient AI slavery, both in-story and in the real-world parallel (the slave trade wasn’t driven mainly by women and sexual minorities). Not specifying is fine, but simply having some bad characters be LGBTQ isn’t bad.

like one of the main people in my story is non-binary and… i wouldn’t describe them as evil, but they kill a lot of people and they have the greyest of grey moralities. they are not representative of all non-binary people (why would they be?) and there is never anything that would indicate that their gender somehow affects their personal morals, because it doesn’t. all the reasons they are capable of doing evil things have to do with their personality combined with their upbringing. so the bad and hostile parts of them come down to who they are as a human, not as a non-binary person.


So to sum up, in my story I plan the characters with all their traits, quirks and whims and then afterwards decide their gender. Since the world I write does not treat the people different based upon that. So that should be okay?

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Just plan gender as one of many attributes – if gender is treated as more (or less) important to what defines that character, as a writer, ask yourself why that is?


I am weird design characters I start with personality or a role. A drunken soldier. I don’t assign gender to the character I start to write about it until naturally, it comes to my mind that the character was forced into the military and drink to forget the 3 WW she abuses of the Androids because she is feeling powerless and isolated. And thinks Androids are objects she can punch to release her anger.

She ended up being a she from Alaska organically.